Image Source : PTI PM Modi with other leaders at the G7 Outreach Summit in Italy.

G7 Summit 2024: In a big win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations have committed to promoting concrete infrastructure initiatives such as the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) in the G7 Summit Communique issued at the end of the three-day G7 Summit. PM Modi was invited to the high-profile summit by his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni.

“We will further promote concrete G7 PGII (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) initiatives, flagship projects, and complementary initiatives to develop transformative economic corridors for quality infrastructure and investment, such as the deepening of our coordination and financing for the Lobito Corridor, the Luzon Corridor, the Middle Corridor, and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, also building on the EU Global Gateway, the Great Green Wall Initiative, and the Mattei Plan for Africa launched by Italy,” reads the communique.

India, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) oat the sidelines of the G20 Summit held in New Delhi in September last year. 

What is the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor?

The mega corridor will promote and accelerate economic development by enhancing connectivity and fostering economic integration between Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The East Corridor, which links India to West Asia/Middle East, and the Northern Corridor, which connects West Asia/Middle East to Europe, will make up the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. 

In addition to the current multi-modal transport routes, it will feature a rail line which will offer a dependable and reasonably priced cross-border ship-to-rail transit network, and improve the transhipment of goods and services between South East Asia through India to West Asia/Middle East Europe. US President Joe Biden said the encourage investment opportunities spanning two continents and rival China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has faced criticism for disregarding the sovereignty of nations.

China said that it welcomes the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit so long it doesn’t become a “geopolitical tool”, even as it downplayed Italy’s plan to pull out of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 envisions connecting China with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe.

What does the G7 support mean for India?

The IMEC project is a highly ambitious project for India that will unlock greater investment for infrastructure development and strengthening connectivity in its various dimensions between India, the Middle East and Europe. PM Modi has repeatedly asserted that the corridor will help promote economic integration between India and Europe.

The IMEC holds enormous significance that has overarching beneficial impacts on India’s own economic growth and strengthened relations with multiple countries. It will also expand India’s influence in the Middle East and Europe and offer an alternative trade route with reduced time. 

However, the project faced a substantial delay in view of the current situation in the Middle East, primarily after the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. India has been calling for de-escalation of the situation and creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations towards a two-state solution to the Palestine issue.

Other promises

Meanwhile, the G7 final communique also welcomed the participation of the Leaders of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritania, Tunisia, Turkiye, and the United Arab Emirates. ““We will step up our efforts to enhance interoperability amongst our AI governance approaches to promote greater certainty, transparency and accountability while recognizing that approaches and policy instruments may vary across G7 members. We will take a risk-based approach in these efforts as we seek to foster innovation and strong, inclusive, and sustainable growth,” it read.

Among the other priorities of the summit’s agenda, the communique registers “unwavering support” for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia. “With a view to supporting Ukraine’s current and future needs in the face of a prolonged defence against Russia, the G7 will launch Extraordinary Revenue Acceleration (ERA) Loans for Ukraine, in order to make available approximately $50 billion in additional funding to Ukraine by the end of the year,” it said.

The summit was attended by Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.

(with inputs from agencies)

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